Sydney trail

The 2020 trail features the well-known Great North Walk and the Harbour to Hawkesbury Walking Track in the beautiful bushland of northern Sydney. 

Check out the trail overview and profile below for a summary of the trail route.

Trail overview


The 100km trail begins in the riverside township of Brooklyn on the Hawkesbury River. Starting with picturesque views at Parsley Bay, the trail quickly enters the bush and joins the Great North Walk. It then winds its way through the northernmost reaches of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Berowra Valley National Park, presenting you with great physical challenges while your legs are still fresh.

Don’t get too comfortable — it’s certainly not all downhill to the Harbour! The trail has many twists, turns, ascents and descents along the rugged bush tracks of the Mt Ku-ring-gai, Bobbin Head, Sphinx, and Warrimoo trails before reaching Garigal National Park. It then traverses the Harbour to Hawkesbury Walking Track (in reverse) as it follows Middle Harbour Creek. The trail offers numerous stunning views, which become more spectacular as you leave Davidson Park and make your way to the Finish line. The last section follows the Spit to Manly walk, with stunning views high above Sydney Harbour, before the triumphant finish at Tania Park.


Checkpoints on the Sydney trail

Please consult with the NSW Rural Fire Service website and the NSW Parks and Wildlife Park alerts page before commencing training walks during summer months.

Want to know what will be at each checkpoint? See our breakdown of what to expect on event weekend.

Here’s a taste of what you’ll experience when you take on the challenging and beautiful Sydney trail.

The Start (Friday 21 August) – Checkpoint 1 15.7km

Parsley Bay to Muogamarra Rural Fire Station

Cumulative total: 15.7km
Difficulty rating: 4
Average Time: 3h 36m

The trail sets off from Parsley Bay in Brooklyn on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. Entering the ‘Great North Walk’ trail, you’re in the northernmost reaches of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Wide fire trails take you past Brooklyn Dam and single tracks allow you to enjoy Jerusalem Bay (pictured). Finally, climb through the towering gums into the village of Cowan and the first checkpoint at Muogamarra Rural Fire Station. The trail can be very narrow with steep rock ascents and descents in the second half of this section. You can even expect some rock scrambling, with ladders build into the rock in places! Note: There is no support crew access at this checkpoint during the event.

Section 1 Map and Directions

Checkpoint 1 – Checkpoint 2 11.9km

Muogamarra Rural Fire Station to Berowra Community Centre

Cumulative total: 27.6km
Difficulty rating: 5
Average Time: 3h 52m

This section of trail is considered the toughest, with a number of steep descents and climbs before you reach Berowra Waters. The challenge continues as the trail rapidly climbs up and away from Berowra Creek. Make sure you stop and appreciate how far you’ve climbed at the beautiful ‘Naa Badu’ lookout, with views towards your next section of trail. From here you only have a few kilometres to go until Berowra township and Checkpoint 2. Similar to section 1, expect some rock scrambling and ladders built into the rock in places.

Section 2 map and directions


Checkpoint 2 – Checkpoint 3 15.2km

Berowra Community Centre to Bobbin Head

Cumulative total: 42.8km
Difficulty rating: 4
Average Time: 4h 53m

From Berowra, the trail returns to the Great North Walk and briefly retraces some of the route before descending to Sams Creek. The trail follows Sams Creek to the mangroves beside Berowra Creek, and then onto the boardwalk through the marshlands (pictured). An ascent through the challenging Lyrebird Gully leads to the suburb of Mt Ku-ring-gai. There is a little suburban street walking before re-entering Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and descending to the picturesque Apple Tree Bay on the shores of Cowan Creek. The trail then travels up and over the ridge and into the historic picnic grounds of Bobbin Head, situated in Australia’s second oldest national park, Ku-ring-gai Chase.

Section 3 map and directions


Checkpoint 3 – Checkpoint 4 15.3km

Bobbin Head to St Ives Showground

Cumulative total: 58.1km
Difficulty rating: 4
Average Time: 5h 15m

Heading south through Bobbin Head picnic grounds, the trail crosses a suspension footbridge and mangrove boardwalk as it enters the challenging Gibberagong Track. After a few kilometres alongside Cockle Creek, a short but steep climb takes you up to the suburb of North Turramurra. After a short walk through the streets, the trail re-enters the national park to visit the historic Sphinx War Memorial before passing through St Ives Chase and entering the spectacular Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens on the way to St Ives Showground.

Section 4 map and directions

Checkpoint 4 – Checkpoint 5 12.4km

St Ives Showground to Frenchs Forest Showground

Cumulative total: 70.5km
Difficulty rating: 3
Average Time: 4h 20m

After passing through the spectacular Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Gardens, the trail crosses through North St Ives and into Garigal National Park. After a short descent, you cross over Bare Creek and head up Heath Track before entering the suburbs and heading down into Frenchs Forest Showground.

Section 5 map and directions


Checkpoint 5 – Checkpoint 6 11.3km

Frenchs Forest Showground to Davidson Park

Cumulative total: 81.8km
Difficulty rating: 3
Average Time: 3hr 51m

After passing through the suburban streets of Belrose, the trail makes it way towards the pretty waterfalls and rock platforms of The Cascades before becoming rugged and narrow along the valley floor next to Middle Harbour Creek. After crossing the pipeline and Carroll Creek, the single track then stays along the water’s edge before opening up to a fire trail just before arriving at the stunning Davidson Park picnic area. Several small waterways feed into the main creeks in this section. These can flow over the trail during rain, or periods of recent rainfall, so take care and be prepared to get your boots wet!

Section 6 map and directions


Checkpoint 6 – Checkpoint 7 7.9km

Davidson Park to Ararat Reserve

Cumulative total: 89.7km
Difficulty rating: 4
Average Time: 2hrs 52m

Travelling alongside Middle Harbour, there is a short urban section before the trail passes the secluded Flat Rock Beach. The trail enters Bantry Bay, behind a decommissioned military site. From here, the trail passes through a few tributary creeks, crossing the amazing Natural Bridge and climbing a big rock slab on the way to Ararat Reserve. This is a short but challenging section at the latter end of the event.

Section 7 map and directions

Checkpoint 7 – The Finish 10.3km

Ararat Reserve to Tania Park

Cumulative total: 100km
Difficulty rating: 3
Average Time: 3hr 13m

This final section passes through urban areas, via the beautifully restored Burnt Bridge Creek to the underpass of Burnt Bridge Creek Deviation, before heading down to the Spit Bridge, where the trail follows the stunning views of the Spit to Manly trail to finish up at the scenic Tania Park.

Section 8 map and directions

We encourage our Trailwalkers to use public transport whenever possible. Please double-check times of buses, trains and possible track work before setting out. Check out NSW Transport for more information.

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